On Saturday, Oct 1st I participated in the 2011 Dream House 500 (DH500). The Dream House is an organization located near Atlanta, GA that helps kids with severe medical issues get the care and support they might otherwise not receive. The DH500 is one of several fund raising events held annually for this great cause.
The DH500 is not your normal large group type charity ride but instead is a route book style 500km sport-touring ride (or a dual-sport ride of a slightly lesser distance) that winds through the North, GA mountains. The ride starts at the Riders Education Center at the Honda facility in Alpharetta, GA. After sign in and a continental breakfast a riders meeting is held after which you gather in small groups for the days ride. Before departing each rider is given the first page of the route for the day. There were five of us in our group all of whom I’d rode with at some time or another in the past.
This year BMW Motorcycles of Atlanta offered three of their latest model demo bikes to be auctioned for a lucky rider to have for the duration of the days ride. I bid for and won the chance to ride a 2011 BMW R 1200GS for the DH500 ride.
As our group left out for Leg #1 the temperature was in the upper 40’s so the heated grips on the GS really came in handy. The first check point was in Morganton, GA where we received the second page of the day’s route. The end of Leg #2 found us at beautiful Vogel State Park. A tasty BBQ lunch was served along with some fine live musical entertainment. As we prepared to depart for Leg #3 the day had warmed up some but it was still a bit breezy. We rode across the Richard Russell Parkway which is a bittersweet road for me as in 2004 I crashed hard on a group ride along the same route. By the time we reached the third checkpoint the temps had risen to a comfortable level which made for a pleasant ride on the 4th Leg as we made our way back to our starting point from earlier that day.
Upon our return everybody grilled their meat of choice (steak or chicken) and discussed the 300+ miles that we had just completed. After some prizes were handed out it was announced that over $6,000 had been raised for a very worthy cause.
On a side note; the BMW R 1200GS provided for a great all day demo-ride. It had good power and handled quite well for a large adventure-touring bike. I was tempted to take some of the dirt roads that we passed by along the way but figured I would be better off not risking having to pay the insurance deductible in the event of a crash. Many thanks to BMW Motorcycles of Atlanta for making this possible and for supporting this very worthy charity event.